HEBRON, Ky. -- Ultimate Air Shuttle is consolidating its Cincinnati operations and will be moving all charter flights from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Lunken Airport.
Ultimate, which has been flying to the New York and Chicago markets from CVG since 2013 and 2014, respectively, is transitioning in an effort to "streamline customer experience" and "achieve highest efficiency," it said in a release.
The move is effective May 31.
"It was a difficult decision to leave CVG for many reasons," Rick Pawlak, Ultimate Air's managing director, told WCPO. "We're doing this, really, to provide a better experience for our customers. It just makes sense. And there's a lot of synergies that work better by moving operations to Lunken."
Lunken will undergo some renovations in relation to the announcement, including parking improvements.
New York City seems at the heart of the move. Ultimate is launching new service to Teterboro, New Jersey, also on May 31. It's closer in proximity to Manhattan than Morristown, New Jersey, which Ultimate will serve from Lunken four days a week.
Ultimate also serves Charlotte/Douglas and Cleveland Burke from Cincinnati and will offer nine nonstop flights Monday through Friday to Chicago Midway.
Pawlak expects Teterboro to expand quickly. Routes are initially scheduled two days a week. Booking began Friday.
Meanwhile, there's an effort underway at Lunken to increase Ultimate's parking capacity, something that had served somewhat as an advantage at CVG.
Pawlak said the first phase of a lot expansion at the east Cincinnati airfield will add a minimum of 40 spots. A later phase could mean upward of 100 more.
Meanwhile, a facility renovation will add a second lounge for customers. High-speed fiber Internet – with enough capacity to handle 100 users – should also be in place before the end of the month, Pawlak said.
Ultimate largely caters to the business traveler. Its amenities often include free parking, transportation, quick boarding and VIP flight service.
"We're putting in a lot of improvements," Pawlak said.
CVG officials, while "disappointed" in the decision, stressed their additional capacity to both Chicago and New York. The airport has grown its seat capacity in NYC by more than 33 percent over the past year. It offers an average of 19 daily flights to the Windy City.
Ultimate recently relocated to the Delta Jet Center at CVG, the airport's fixed-based operator, since its former home, Terminal 1, is currently being demolished to make way for a new CONRAC, or consolidated rental car facility.
“While we're disappointed Ultimate Air will no longer be operating from our FBO facility, we understand their need to consolidate resources for schedule and operational efficiencies,” CVG CEO Candace McGraw said in a statement. “We’re proud of our relationship with Ultimate Air and will continue to look for opportunities where they can expand and grow service in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.”
Pawlak didn't rule out an eventual return to CVG. Ultimate, for example, is eyeing additional service to DeKalb-Peachtree, Georgia, north of Atlanta, and Chicago Executive Airport. No start dates have been announced.
"I'm sure we'll return to CVG some day, when we expand to new cities, because there's only so much room for growth at Lunken," Pawlak said. "When we move back to CVG one day, we will be back at Delta Jet Center, because it's a great facility. We do want to keep close parking to our facilities, and that’s where CVG would come into play for us."
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